Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

BG plans ahead for another water treatment reservoir

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials plan to spend $220,000 to buy some acreage for another water treatment reservoir. A few years ago, the city purchased 76 acres on Hull Prairie Road with the thought of putting another reservoir there in the future. The one problem was a house that sat on four acres in the center of the acreage at 23134 Hull Prairie Road. But the owner of the house, Jay Largent, has now asked if the city is interested in purchasing his house and the four acres for the appraised price of $220,000. The Board of Public Utilities voted Monday evening to do so. “This could be advantageous for us,” Director of Public Utilities Brian O’Connell said, explaining that 80 acres is much more desirable than 76 acres with a house in the middle. “It does give us a more viable site for a reservoir.” A larger reservoir would provide additional raw water storage as well as better quality raw water to the plant. Until the new reservoir is needed and the house is demolished, the city may rent it out to make some income. Or the city may trade the land for other acreage closer to the water treatment plant that is four miles away from the Hull Prairie acreage. According to O’Connell, there’s enough money for the land acquisition in the 2017 Water & Sewer Capital Improvement Fund. Also at Monday’s meeting, the board of public utilities voted to enter an agreement with the Wood County Port Authority to help extend services to a new portion of the Woodbridge Business Park….

BG school board to hold workshop on facilities

The Bowling Green Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, May 23, from 8 to 11 a.m. at the administrative offices, 137 Clough St., Bowling Green.  This is a workshop of the board, with the purpose to discuss facilities.  There may be action taken if personnel resignations and/or hiring, or other items arise.

Keeping peace: Courthouse security duties may be divided

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In order to keep the peace, it appears the duties of securing the Wood County Courthouse Complex may soon be divided. Though the plans have not been finalized, it looks like the current court constables will continue to provide security in the courtrooms, jury rooms, adult probation and domestic relations. However, Wood County Sheriff’s deputies will take over the atrium entry, the county office building, the rest of the courthouse and the grounds. “I have always suspected it was my duty to do that,” Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said about his office providing security. The issue came up last month when Chief Constable Tom Chidester retired after 20 years of his department securing the courthouse complex. The current security program was devised cooperatively by the commissioners, judges, sheriff and other county elected officials in the mid 1990s, when the county was trying to meet the 12 requirements of the Ohio Supreme Court. The court security officers perform several functions like scanning people and packages entering the court complex, standing guard during trials and providing general security functions. But upon Chidester’s departure, Wasylyshyn questioned whether his office should take over the court security role. The county commissioners and judges favored continued use of the court security officers. But Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson said the issue is not whether or not the current court security system is serving the county well. “The question isn’t whether it’s working,” he said. “The question is whether we are following the law.” Wasylyshyn said Dobson was strong in his statement that it is the sheriff’s responsibility to keep…

Citizens sound off on East Wooster corridor plans

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Citizens got to heap compliments and complaints earlier this week on Bowling Green’s plans to recreate its image from the interstate. Giant drawings showed plans for roundabouts at I-75 and East Wooster Street, a walk- and bike-path along Wooster, and a new decorative look to the bridge over the interstate. “It’s beautiful. I think it’s going to organize traffic in and out of the city,” and prevent accidents in the process, said Brandon Welsh, operations manager at Best Western on East Wooster Street. The project will add two roundabouts designed for semi-trucks at both Interstate 75 interchanges on East Wooster Street. The bridge driving surface will be replaced, with a bike-pedestrian trail being added from Alumni Drive to Dunbridge Road along north side of Wooster Street. The plan calls for a landscaped gateway to be created to Bowling Green and Bowling Green State University. Though utility work will begin in 2018, the bulk of the actual interchange and roadway work will take place in 2019. ”I’m very excited about the new pedestrian improvements,” said Chris Frey, who lives close to downtown but said he would use the bikeway along East Wooster to the Meijer store. “I’m looking forward to it. I’d be very happy to ride my bicycle to the store.” The more accommodations the city can make for bicyclists and pedestrians, the better, Frey said. “We don’t have a culture of stopping for pedestrians.” But that may come, he added. Dawn McCaghy also liked the addition of 10-foot wide bike and pedestrian lane over I-75 that will be made possible by…

Body found in river identified as missing Defiance man

The body recovered along the Maumee River in the Mary Jane Thurstin State Park near the village of Grand Rapids, on May 18, has been identified as Donovan Shane Bowden, 45, of Defiance, according to the Wood County Sheriff’s Office. Bowden was reported missing to the City of Defiance Police by his wife on Feb. 17. The investigation continues, however, foul play is not suspected.

WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program expanded to county

(Submitted by Wood County Health District) The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is expanding the program into two additional counties, bringing the total number of Ohio counties participating in FMNP to 61. The 2017 expansion counties are Trumbull and Wood. The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is administered by the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Coupons are distributed to eligible WIC participants through local WIC clinics. Pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women and some children participating in the program are eligible to receive a one-time benefit of $20 worth of coupons to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from authorized farmers between June 1 and Oct. 31. The benefits of the WIC FMNP are many. FMNP benefits farms by: Supporting local agriculture by increasing sales at farmers’ markets and farmstands. Promoting expansion and diversification of family farms by encouraging the production of fresh fruits and vegetables. FMNP benefits WIC participants by: Providing WIC participants with an opportunity to improve their health by eating more nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. Introducing WIC families to farmers’ markets and farmstands and teaching them to select and prepare a wide variety of locally grown produce. FMNP benefits communities by: Helping revitalize downtown areas by supporting the farmers’ market as an activity that benefits the entire community. Promoting the development of farmers’ markets to communities lacking access to fresh produce. Providing income to farmers that in turn helps boost local economies. If you are interested in becoming an authorized FMNP farmer or want to learn more about the program, please call the ODH WIC program at 1-800-282-3435 or visit To…

County salutes police who lost lives while on duty

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The bell sounding the last alarm was rung 12 times Thursday for the 12 law enforcement officers in Wood County who have died in the line of duty while serving local citizens. Dating back more than 120 years, the officers lost their lives to gunfights, car crashes and drowning. “We are reminded how dangerous it is each and every day,” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said to all the law enforcement members attending. The Wood County Commissioners thanked those who gave their lives for the citizenry. State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, spoke of an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper who died 50 years ago when he was in pursuit of two speeding vehicles on the turnpike near Ohio 795. He was just 22 years old. “Obviously police officers face dangers every time they put on their uniforms,” she said. Gavarone was critical of the media for inaccurately portraying law enforcement, by focusing on the negative not the positive actions by police. “I wish some attention would be paid to the good things you guys do,” she said. Gavarone mentioned two pieces of legislature affecting law enforcement and first responders. House Bill 115 is designed to improve communication between law enforcement and motorists with communication problems. The bill creates a system for information on drivers with communication difficulties to be accessed by law enforcement as soon as a vehicle is stopped. The other legislation increases penalties against people who harm first responders and other emergency workers as they respond to incidents. “Our police officers should be given all the tools possible to do…

Gardner’s school support bill passes Senate

(Submitted by Office of State Senator Randy Gardner) State Senator Randy Gardner’s bill to provide a new option for school districts to fund IT infrastructure projects, school security needs and other school improvements passed overwhelmingly in the Ohio Senate Wednesday. Gardner (R-Bowling Green), the Senate Majority Leader, sponsored the 1:1 Match School Facilities Option to allow school districts a new option outside of the traditional Classroom Facilities Assistance Program, that has awarded billions of dollars to school districts in compliance with Ohio Supreme Court decisions requiring improved school funding support. The sponsor of companion legislation in the Ohio House of Representatives is State Representative Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton). “This new option for schools ushers in a new era of reaching out to districts to help them meet the needs of school children, whether it’s better technology, safer schools or other priority school needs,” Gardner said.   “Many districts I represent want this option.” Specifically, the bill allows school districts that have not accepted money in the traditional school construction program to accept smaller amounts of state facilities aid in exchange for a reduced local match.  The plan is to get funds to school districts faster while saving state tax dollars from the traditional classroom construction fund.   The Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Ohio School Board Association and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators have all endorsed the bill. “I am pleased that school officials in the area and across the state have joined us in support of this bill,” Gardner said.  “We have a real opportunity to make a difference toward better support options for schools.”

Ohio House passes bill sponsored by Gavarone

(Submitted by Ohio House of Representatives) The Ohio House today voted in favor of House Bill 115, which would establish a voluntary program through the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) to help facilitate effective communication between law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities, such as autism. Under the legislation, sponsored by State Representatives Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster), an individual may voluntarily submit a verification form, signed by their physician, to the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles to be designated as an individual with a communication disability. This information is then made available to state and local law enforcement only through the Law Enforcement Automated Data Systems, more commonly referred to as LEADS. “This comprehensive legislation greatly aids law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities,” said Wiggam. “House Bill 115 should serve as a national model to support families and communities across the country.” Both Gavarone and Wiggam introduced this legislation after being approached by constituents in their districts who had teenagers with communication disorders and were beginning to drive. These parents were concerned that if their child was pulled over, they may not be able to effectively answer the officer’s questions, which could potentially be seen as a cause for concern. For these instances, this database helps law enforcement approach a driver knowing they have difficulty speaking, and allows that officer to immediately rely on their training for how to best serve disabled individuals. “The goal of this legislation all along was to improve communication between law enforcement and those with communication disabilities,” Gavarone said. “There’s no doubt we accomplished that and I look forward…

Seniors over 90 celebrate their secrets to long lives

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The seniors got all gussied up Monday to celebrate their longevity and share more than nine decades of stories. The wall was lined with walkers as they sat around tables and caught up with old friends. “We want to celebrate the residents of Wood County who are 90-plus,” said Alisha Nenadovich, sales manager at Brookdale, as she pinned corsages onto each senior who entered. “It gives them a chance to see people they don’t normally see,” but people who they attended school or church with decades ago, Nenadovich said. This was the sixth year of the 90-plus Spectacular sponsored by several senior organizations and held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green. In many ways it was like a reunion for the 75 seniors. “Longevity is something we want to celebrate,” said Danielle Brogley, director of programs with the Wood County Committee on Aging. Two of the attendees were over the century mark. Elfreda Rusher, 100, was a business education professor at Bowling Green State University. Lucille Wood, 101, worked as a manager for United Savings. Certificates were handed out by city and county officials to each of the seniors over age 90. Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn joked that his presence was required because of two women at one table who were sweet on the same man decades ago. One ended up as his wife. “There may be a fight breaking out,” he said, smiling. “I’m here to keep the peace.” As each senior was recognized, facts about their lives were read to the crowd. Several had marriages that lasted longer than…

BG demands answers to questions about pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Last week’s pipeline panel discussion raised questions that Bowling Green officials want answered. “We’ve all been wrestling with this,” Mayor Dick Edwards said Monday evening as he sought council input on the letter he penned. The letter received support from council, including an endorsement from member Daniel Gordon, who called it “strongly and appropriately worded.” The letters will be sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, U.S. Rep. Bob Latta and Nexus pipeline. Slightly modified letters will also be sent to State Senator Randy Gardner, State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and possibly PUCO. Gordon said the lack of deadlines for the pipeline makes it difficult for those objecting to the project. “It’s a source of a great deal of frustration,” Edwards said. The decision rests with the federal government. “It’s frustrating for municipalities to take on the federal government.” The mayor stressed the need to send the letter as soon as possible. “We are trying to establish a record of concern,” he said. “We will try our best to keep pressing the issues.” Edwards also expressed concerns about the pipeline company, which refuses to answer questions about the project. “I’m disappointed with the Nexus group.” Gordon suggested the city add a timetable to the letter, and warn that the city will take the next step if questions are answered adequately. Even if there is a low probability of getting the pipeline rerouted, “it’s worth taking that chance.” Because of possible threats to the city’s water treatment plant, the city…

BG Schools hears good financial news, hires new athletic director

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Board of Education was rich with good news Tuesday evening. The board members learned the district’s finances have taken a turn for the better. They voted to hire the varsity football coach as the athletic director. And they handed out awards for everything from art and math to clean kitchens. Adam Dirk Conner, high school math teacher and varsity football coach, was hired as the athletic director with a salary of $72,500. Conner said after the meeting that he plans to continue coaching football.  His goals as athletic director include supporting the coaches and athletes, plus work toward improving the athletic facilities. Conner said he also supports drug testing of athletes, which the board has discussed. “I’m all in favor of it,” he said. District Treasurer Rhonda Melchi presented the district’s five-year forecast – with some good news. “We’re more confident our state funding will be more stable,” Melchi said. Meanwhile, the district saw its expenditures drop as new people were hired at lower rates than retiring teachers, fewer employees were on family insurance, and the worker’s compensation expenses were lower than expected. Melchi said she is still projecting a deficit in 2020, “but it’s not near as big,” she said. “We’ve done a good job managing taxpayers’ dollars,” Scruci said after the meeting. “We’re happy where we are,” though nothing is certain until after the state budget is done. Melchi also presented numbers to the board about the loss seen when students living in the district go to school elsewhere. The statistics showed $283,677 leaving the district for…

Bike to Work or School Day is Friday, May 19

Friday, May 19, has been designated as the official Bike to Work or School Day in the City of Bowling Green. The Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission encourages citizens to participate by riding their bicycles to work or school and wearing a helmet. For questions or more information, contact the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department at 419-354-6225.

Results listed from National Employee Health & Fitness Day

(Submitted by Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department) The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department recently held the 20th annual National Employee Health and Fitness Day event. This event was held on May 10 near the Kiwanis and Martin Shelters in City Park. This year, 151 employees of various organizations participated in the event. Special recognition is given to the local businesses that brought the most participants. Businesses are categorized into three groups by total number of employees: small (less than 100), medium (100-499) and large (more than 500). The results of this year’s event are as follows: Large Business Champion – Wood County Government Medium Business Champion – City of Bowling Green Small Business Champion – Marathon Special Products Other agencies that participated were: Bowling Green State University, Wood County Hospital, and First Insurance Group.